Blog Post

Packaging: how we solve the puzzle

Supply Chain
Start Ups
Solving the Packaging Puzzle

In the world of e-commerce, the question of how to solve the packaging puzzle is a pressing one. Sourceful, a company founded with the mission to simplify the packaging supply chain, is committed to making the search for sustainable packaging easier and more efficient for every business. However, there's a lot to unpack to make this happen.

To better understand the current landscape, we conducted a comprehensive and in-depth research study, gathering input from 280 direct-to-consumer businesses. This wide-ranging research explored the latest trends from across the industry, revealing the current inefficiencies within the packaging supply chain. These frustrations are prompting e-commerce businesses to seek change across the sector through the adoption of new technologies.

Packaging priorities

Our research yielded several key findings. The first is that packaging has become a major investment for e-commerce businesses, with sustainability and efficiency emerging as top priorities.

The typical e-commerce firm now spends over £1m per year on packaging. This significant investment involves approximately 1 in 6 employees in the packaging supply chain. Despite this, 4 in 10 firms are eager to optimise packaging efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

For nearly half of the firms surveyed, reducing packaging waste and increasing sustainability is their number one priority. This trend is largely driven by consumers who are increasingly demanding eco-friendly materials.

Furthermore, 1 in 3 e-commerce businesses identified strengthening relationships with suppliers as another key priority. These suppliers play a crucial role in informing sustainable decision-making within the businesses.

Pieces of the puzzle

Our research also re-iterated the reasons we set out to create Sourceful. The industry consensus is that packaging supply chains are outdated, complex, and inefficient. They are in desperate need of technological modernisation to reduce waste.

Half of the industry agrees that the packaging supply chain is old-fashioned. This view is held by 56% of e-commerce start-ups. Businesses are seeking a more efficient way to design packaging, with 36% stating that the design and prototyping process takes 'too long'.

Currently, 1 in 4 packaging shipments are delivered late, and 1 in 10 shipments contain packaging that is damaged or of poor quality. These delays and the delivery of substandard products result in approximately £150,000 of wastage each year for the average e-commerce business.

Solving the packaging puzzle

While the supply chain appears broken, a technological transformation is on the horizon. Many businesses are already adopting tech solutions to solve the packaging puzzle.

A significant 71% of businesses say that they intend to invest in tech solutions to improve their packaging operations. Meanwhile, 47% of firms predict that AI will assist with demand forecasting, particularly around the perennial challenge of forecasting for promotional events and peak seasons.

Additionally, 44% believe that real-time shipment tracking could solve logistics issues, and 39% suggest that automated fulfilment could aid inventory management.

What’s next?

The future of packaging is set to be transformed by AI. Copilots are being rolled out across productivity suites like Google, Microsoft, and Adobe, making it easier to perform language and creative tasks. This will bring practical AI use cases to day-to-day business activities, helping to increase the expansion of streamlining technologies.

From a design perspective, NVIDIA's continued investment in graphics technology is making visual media increasingly lifelike. This advancement will help to push the cost of photoshoots down as media can be generated algorithmically.

The next version of Sourceful’s own Spring AI continues to build on simplifying the design process. The upcoming iteration will facilitate the use of actual brand assets like colours, logos, and fonts, further accelerating ideation. This is just one of the ways in which we are working to solve the packaging puzzle, making the process more efficient, sustainable, and user-friendly for all businesses.

Visit Sourceful today

The packaging puzzle is complex, but not unsolvable. With the right technology and a commitment to sustainability, e-commerce businesses can transform their packaging supply chains into efficient, eco-friendly systems. Sourceful is at the forefront of this transformation, providing innovative solutions that simplify the process and promote sustainability.

We invite you to join us on this journey towards a more sustainable future. Visit our website to learn more about our research, our mission, and how our solutions can help your business. Explore our Spring AI platform and see how it can streamline your design process. Connect with us to discuss your packaging needs and discover how we can help you optimise your operations, reduce waste, and strengthen your supplier relationships.

The future of packaging is here, and it's sustainable, efficient, and tech-driven. So let's solve the packaging puzzle together. Visit Sourceful today.

*[Solving the Packaging Puzzle is a wide-ranging and in-depth piece of research from Sourceful, based on input from 280 direct-to-consumer businesses. It unpacks the latest trends from across the industry, revealing the inefficiencies within the packaging supply chain. These frustrations are prompting e-commerce businesses to look to drive change across the sector through new technologies.]

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